Suzanne Hickling shares why she got involved with our campaign to make the life-changing drug Perjeta available on Scotland’s NHS.

Wednesday 9 January 2019      Policy and campaigns blog

In May 2018, we launched our Perjeta Now campaign in Scotland which aims to make Perjeta available on Scotland’s NHS.

Perjeta is an extraordinary drug which can offer women with incurable secondary breast cancer nearly 16 months of extra life compared to other treatments. It is routinely available on the NHS for treating secondary breast cancer in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – but not in Scotland. 

Suzanne lives in England and has been a fantastic supporter of the Perjeta Now campaign in Scotland. She helped us promote the cause in the media and spoke about her experience for our campaign video to help promote the campaign’s petition.  

Suzanne’s story

I’m Suzanne. I live on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire.

I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2016. Following a course of chemotherapy, I started on Perjeta & Herceptin every 3 weeks & I’m still going strong after 48 sessions!

I got involved with Breast Cancer Now and the campaign to make Perjeta available to women in Scotland for two main reasons.

The first was I have close family living & working in Scotland. My visits are limited to fit in around returning to England for treatment.

The second was I felt it is unfair that I could access this drug and those in Scotland couldn’t.

Going to the Scottish Medicines Consortium meeting

Suzanne also got involved with the drugs appraisal process. She travelled up from England to join us at the Scottish Medicines Consortium Committee meeting in Glasgow. The Committee met in December to consider whether Perjeta should be made available to treat secondary breast cancer on the NHS in Scotland.

I felt that I wanted to follow through my involvement with Breast Cancer Now and the campaign so I grabbed the opportunity to go to Glasgow on 4 December to observe the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) discussion around Perjeta.

It was interesting....35 very professional people sat around a table with “my life in their hands”. It was quite obvious that there was a lot more information given to the SMC that I didn’t have access to, and a lot of the information discussed went over my head. However, I was so glad I went...hopefully it showed that for all the talking my presence made the issue ‘real’.

Campaigning with Breast Cancer Now

Breast Cancer Now have been really supportive - providing emotional & friendly support and keeping me informed of the campaign’s progress.

The whole experience of working with Breast Cancer Now has been really positive. The team have been really supportive, nothing is too much trouble.

I’m hoping for a positive outcome from the SMC meeting but am quite happy & prepared to continue with the campaign for Perjeta if it’s needed.

I would suggest to anyone that is thinking about getting involved with a campaign to go for it!

You can be as involved as you feel comfortable with, there is no right or wrong amount, the BCN team will support you at any level of input.

Want to get involved in our campaigns?

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